After being diagnosed with breast cancer, women must often undergo extensive surgeries that may destroy some or all of the breast tissue, leaving them with misshapen or deformed breasts that require breast reconstructive surgery or prosthesis. These are generally considered cosmetic surgeries, and may not be covered by insurance, but nevertheless, the process of breast reconstruction is a popular one among those who have had some or all of their breast tissue removed. There are a couple of different ways that the breasts can be reconstructed after cancer, or after surgery to remove the cancer, but let’s start with the various surgeries that are performed to remove breast tissue in the first place.
Breast cancer surgery typically involves the physical removal of the tumor itself, as well as some of the tissue that surrounds it. Commonly, a sentinel lymph node biopsy is done as well. The sentinel lymph node is the one that the cancer is most likely to spread to, the biopsy is done to see if that has happened and how far advanced it is if so. The surgery that is done in very advanced stages, or where the doctor sees no other choice is the Mastectomy, which is the removal of the entire breast. Other surgeries include a Quadrantectomy, or removal of a quarter of the breast, and a Lumpectomy, where only a small portion of the breast is removed.
The first thing that you should be aware of is that breast reconstruction results vary widely, and although the procedure does attempt to restore the breast to the normal shape, size and appearance, this may not happen exactly how you want it to. Continue reading Breast Reconstruction
One of the most common treatments for breast cancer is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy, simply put, is chemical therapy, and it is a very effective medicine for weakening and destroying some of the cancer cells that are in the body. Chemotherapy not only targets cancerous cells that are at the original site of the breast cancer, whether that be in the lobules or another site in the body where the cancer has originated, but also targets cancer cells that have moved to other parts of the body, making it a great combination treatment with surgery, which removes as much of the cancerous growth as possible.
Combination of Drugs
Chemotherapy is not a particular drug, but is almost always a combination of several drugs. In fact, your doctor may try different combinations of drugs to slow the growth of the cancer or eliminate it from the body, because everyone reacts differently. There are actually more than fifty different chemotherapy drugs, which can result in thousands of combinations, and obviously, not only does each person have a slightly different reaction to the drug combination when it comes to treatment, but each person’s side effects are different as well. Some of the common chemotherapy drugs include cyclophosphamide, docetaxel, carboplatin, doxorubicin, and imatinib mesylate among many others. Continue reading Chemotherapy for breast cancer
Breast Cancer Screening is one of the most important things that a women can do, because most instances of breast cancer are preventable and treatable if the disease is caught in the early stages.
There are a couple of types of breast cancer screening, the first that you can do yourself at home, involves feeling the breasts for any lumps that may be present. The other type of breast cancer screening is the type that is conducted by your physician or by another medical professional. There are many places that offer breast cancer screenings, some even without cost.
The Self Breast Exam
The first thing about examining yourself for breast cancer is already being aware of your body. You should already know the size, shape and coloration of your breasts so that you can notice when there are any changes. Some of the common signs of breast cancer can include swelling of the breast and a red color, as well as dimpling and puckering or a rash present. Other signs might include a watery discharge from the nipple that is milky, yellow or bloody. Next, feel the breasts for any abnormalities. Do this exam lying down, and use your fingertip pads to feel for any lumps, or anything that shouldn’t be there. Continue reading Breast Cancer Screening
Breast cancer is caused by changes in DNA, which will then allow normal cells to mutate into cancer cells. Some of these changes are caused by genetics and sometimes they just happen. Most of the time, the DNA changes that occur are single breast cells changing throughout the lifetime of the person who will get cancer. Researchers do not know what most of the DNA mutations that lead to cancer are yet. Probably the breast cancer is caused by interaction of genetic makeup and environmental factors However, there are some risk factors that have been identified by doctors and researchers through the years, and more are being discovered all the time.
Risk Factors for Breast Cancer
While the exact causes of breast cancer may not yet be known, there are some trends that have been identified, such as people that engage in certain behaviors, are a certain age, race or have a family history of breast or other types of cancers, and these trends have given doctors some tools to help minimize the chances of breast cancers with their patients. Some risk factors cannot be changed, and some are behaviors that can. It is obviously recommended that you do not engage in behaviors that are identified as risk factors, even if you have other risk factors that cannot be changed.
Unchangeable Risk Factors
Gender is one of the unchangeable risk factors in breast cancer. The fact is that while men do occasionally get breast cancer, the chances are much higher for women getting it. In fact, women get breast cancer one hundred times more often than men do.
Age is another factor that can influence whether or not someone gets breast cancer, with two thirds of cases, especially invasive breast cancer, in women that are older than fifty-five. Continue reading Breast Cancer Risk Factors